Bound and Determined

Bound and Determined

It was in the late summer or early fall of 1963, when at the age of 17, I got my parents to sign the consent form needed to enlist in the Marine Corps. With the consent form and pocket full of promises from the local recruiter I went down to Whitehall Street in lower Manhattan, NY to join up.

During my physical exam the Army doctor, who looked like he was about 80 years old, mixed up my paper work with the poor guy standing next to me. This guy had rheumatic fever as a child and should have been classified 4-F.Unfortunately he got my 1-A classification and I got the 4-F classification.

I was not a happy camper! To let everyone know they made a big mistake I shouted, cursed and threatened everyone around me until I was given the “bum’s rush” and escorted out the door.

Not willing to give up my quest to join the Marine Corps, I waited about two months and went to a different recruiter and started the process all over again. Remember this was the pre-computer days and you could get away with it.

On the day of my physical exam I had a different doctor. I passed the exam without a problem. As I was mentally congratulating myself I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around and was stating at a chest full of ribbons. I’m 6”1” but I had to look up about six inches to see a face that belonged to a very large MP. Behind him was an even larger MP. I was informed that I was about to be arrested for fraudulent enlistment. Of course I denied I was ever there before and tried to convince them they were mistaking me for someone else. One of the MP’s laughed and said that I made such a big stink he actually put a photo of me on his wall in the MP office.

After some desperate negotiations on my part the OIC at Whitehall Street told me to come back at 7:30 AM the next morning with an overnight bag. He told me I was going to be shipped over to Governor’s Island for a series of exams to see if I would pass a more stringent physical exam.

The next morning I boarded a ferry boat to Governor’s Island. There were twelve passengers going for physicals. Eleven of them were trying to get out of the Army and I was trying to get into the Marine Corps. I never regretted getting on that ferry boat.

Fast forward from that point on….I went to Parris Island in the first week of January 1964….made PFC out of Boot Camp…..and was attached to the one of the first combat units into Vietnam- 1st Battalion 3rd Marines in 1965.

Sgt Grit wants to hear from you! Leave your comments below or submit your own story!


  • Abiezer D. Stewart

    If any one could be A MARINE it wouldn’t be THE MARINE CORPS because we try harder, EVEN TO ENLIST!

  • First Sergeant Patrick Vogt USMC (Retired)

    When I was 12 years old I had a stomach problem and lost 3 pints of blood internally. I went to enlist in the Marine Corps after being out of High School for about a year. I had had a big fight with my Father who was a retired Marine Major. When I took the physical, being honest, I put down what had been wrong with me when I was 12. I was classified 4F. I went home and my father sent me to Willmington, Ohio where my brother was stationed in the Army. He pulled some strings and got me in the Army. I served my time and
    got out. A year later I signed up for the Marine Corps because I had a honorable discharge. Of course I did not tell them about my stomach problem Served in Vietnam f967-68. I/3/9 Went on to make a career out of the Corps and retired as a First Sergeant. I wanted to be a Marine from the time I could walk and talk and I finally did it. Semper Fi

  • Ted Knutson

    Had to argue with doctors 45 minutes at the age of 17 back in April 1965. Completely flat footed from birth. Nearly maxed preenlistment test. Told me I was a cinch for air wing, never have to leave an air base. My immediate reply was to head for the door. Fortunately was convinced to turn around and served proudly and well as a 0311 with 2/4

  • Sgt. Robert L Sisson

    In reply to Abiezer D. Stewart.
    I had a good friend who from 11th grade on wanted nothing more than to become a MARINE. Larry took the physical and flunked. He tried again a few months later flunked again. He said he would sign a waver they said no. I just had breakfast with Larry a few weeks ago. We are both 69 years old and he told me to this day that is the biggest let downs of his life not getting into the MARINE CORP.

  • James Angelo

    In 1959, (the year I went to The University of Parris Island), there was a form that had to be filled out about Your past and Your families past, (Thank You Joe McCarthy) ,, (sp) ,, to make a long story short, on the reverse side were all the outfits/societies you were not supposed to belong to , (including ALL of Your relatives). During WWll There were two parties in Greece. You were either Nazi or Communist. As I had Two Uncles in Greece during that time that Hated The Nazi party, they joined the other side. In order for me to join The United States Marine Corps, I had to be investigated by The F.B.I. (The first time) I pasted with flying colors. So ,, even back in those years, every thing came under strict guide lines. (The second time is a story for another time).

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